When you try something new, you just might surprise yourself.
I was never interested in surfing. I’ve lived in California for 17 years and in that time I never even thought about trying it. It seemed scary, and dangerous. I’m afraid of the ocean. The water is cold and the shore rocky here. There are too many other people competing for waves. I don’t understand how that could be fun. I had infinite excuses in my head, reasons that I couldn’t possibly ever enjoy surfing, so why try?
Then I ended up in Costa Rica for 5 months, right on the beach in a small surf town. I held out for a month or so, and then I thought… well… the water is warm here. People seem to enjoy themselves. I don’t have to wear a wetsuit. Why not at least take a lesson? It can’t hurt.
I went out once and I was hooked. I started taking lessons every week. Yes, I was still terrified of the water, but there is just something about surfing. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically (and in many ways, mentally), and yet when I come back I can’t wait for my next session. I completely surprised myself. Trust me, I would’ve told you a million times over that I had no desire to engage in this sport. And yet…
Certain aspects still ring true – I still don’t want to surf in California. In Costa Rica I was lucky to have a great instructor, patient and welcoming locals, relatively empty waves, and warm water. My point is that we should never close ourselves off to possibility, no matter how unlikely we feel it is that we’ll be interested. We are constantly shifting and evolving, and as such, so are our interests and goals. I’m not saying that you have to try everything in the world, and that you have to keep up with something that you truly don’t find to be in resonance. I am saying that you never know what you might like if you let go of pre-conceived judgments.
This is more about keeping an open mental state than determining that you must try ever single hobby possible so that you know for sure what you like and don’t like. This is about not knocking something just because it’s unfamiliar or maybe a little intimidating. The more that you remain curious, the more interesting your life will be. You will learn to trust yourself, to find depths that you didn’t know existed within. By not placing limits on yourself mentally before you open yourself up, you will discover new resilience, strength and courage.
When you stretch yourself, you better yourself. There are many realms in which to find expansion – you don’t have to choose physical expansion. You don’t have to choose something that scares you. I’m encouraging you to find curiosity and play in your every day, in the littlest of leaps and the largest. The more you step outside your comfort zone, the more progress, growth – and dare I say happiness – you’ll find.
Surfing still scares me every time that I go out there. I’m still exhausted afterwards. I still wonder why the hell I think this is fun when I can no longer feel my arms or my back muscles. I still come out absolutely drained – but in the best way possible. I don’t feel this way about everything that challenges me, but I’ve learned to let go of what doesn’t feel good and keep what does. That’s the only way that I grow and learn.
So what if you try something totally different from your usual? What if you put yourself out there to meet new people and experience new ways of being? You might just end up finding something you love that you never even considered interesting before. You never know.
You can step outside your comfort zone and reclaim your inner child’s sense of play, wonder, and adventure. You’ve got this. I believe in you, and I love you.